Clare Potts shares her 'doomscroll' reflections - is human worth tied into how much one can do in a day? Or is life more than productivity?

Lately, I’ve been a bit addicted to my phone.  

Amongst puppy reels and pasta recipes, the Instagram algorithm is feeding me A-Day-in-My-Life videos. These are 40-second reels, usually of a young mother or fitness queen taking us through their ordinary (perfect) day complete with skincare regime, food prep, and gym session. I amuse myself by considering what my Day-in-My-Life video would look like – emails, doughnut, doomscroll, another doughnut. Then, despite my smugness, I watch 100 more of them.  

Later on, as I brush my teeth and consider my fourth pimple of the week, I do feel a bit, well, flat. The idea of breaking down my day into 10-minute increments of coffee, emails, yoga, and salad exhausts but also entices me. Maybe I should be like that?  

And then I get the ick. Is that productivity “the good life”? Is this what we’re aiming for? What messages about human value do we absorb from these videos? What must they say to the depressed, disabled, and dependent?  

The truth is that many of these videos are voyeuristic performances under the guise of “normal”. And naturally, we viewers compare our unproductive ways to them.  

There’s a belief in Christianity that all humans are made in God’s image, affording them inherent dignity, respect, and rights. This ethic is the bedrock of Western societies. It’s what lies behind the idea that the person with dementia is still a person, whatever their loss of memory and faculty; that the person who can’t get out of bed because of crippling depression is worthy and precious despite their dependence on others. It flies in the face of productivity culture. And it seems to me a much richer barometer of human value than all the things I can get done in my day. 


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